non literate users

June 4, 2008 at 5:36 am | Posted in creative, interface design | Leave a comment
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Just came across Nokia research center web page and was reading an article about non literate user’s use of a mobile phone. Research was done specially in India, China, Brazil and some other countries targeting non literate users. Though the article is very long, so i can not put all information here, but some points which i found interesting, i am trying to elaborate it.

This article shows some improvement suggestions. What they say is,

A simple mobile phone with a minimal feature set is the short answer. In practice, this means supporting incoming and outgoing calls with a call log adapted for use as an address book. ”  Now fortunately i worked once on a project related to non literate users in mobile phone context only during my internship. Studies were done in some villages of Gujarat, India. What my little research findings say is, they are also interested in other features like listening to songs, taking pictures, playing games etc.  Though not everyone uses it, but i have found some non literate people learning specific feature from friends/relatives and they perform that task very well. For example, i found a guy (around 16 year old) who studied till 4th standard (though he can be considered as semi literate), knew how to choose songs and play it. He learned from his friend.

Now coming back to the point, can not we make a new design which may have some features mentioned above, which non literate people also use? Why do we need to go for a phone with minimal feature?? In this article they have mentioned about audio feedback and spoken menus, which indeed would be nice domain to explore. Can not we make a mobile phone fully voice based?? Just a thought though, imagining a phone without a screen, but totally operated by numerical keypad and audio feedback?? what say?? 🙂

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